Oris Wristwatch Company was founded in 1904 by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian at Hölstein, Switzerland. For over 100 years, the Swiss watchmaker has been designing mechanical watches which are popular amongst watch enthusiasts due to their red rotor. With the intent to get to every watch enthusiast, Oris watches are available for various fields including aviation, water sports, and even the music industry.
As a devoted brand of innovation in watchmaking, Oris has been doing really remarkable that year after year it’s always shining Baselworld with new novel timepieces. At Baselworld 2019, the flair was no different from the previously passed ones, and the watchmaker introduced around 10 different watches, including skeletonized Artelier and Artix GT.
The History of Oris Watches
Although not many know of its existence, Oris Watch Company was founded in 1904 by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian under a mayor’s contract. The name Oris was borrowed from a brook nearby and it truly connected the watchmaker with the locals boldly. In 1906, the watchmaker established a second factory for assembling works. By 1925, Oris had 5 additional factories across Switzerland, alongside the major branch in Hölstein.
At the year, 1925, Oris entered the world of wristwatches after shifting from pocket watches which it has been creating for the aviators since 1910s. The wristwatch, however, was still much of a pocket watch as it was just a wrist buckle added after removing the dangling chain.
Since in the beginning, Oris Company has truly been devoted to innovation. In 1934, natheless, the Swiss watchmaker encountered some setbacks from the Swiss government which has introduced a Watch Statute that regulates the watchmaking industry. The statute prohibited the watch manufacturers from creating new technologies without the consent of the government. Oris suffered a big blow from its competitors as it was using pin-lever escapement movements. These movements were primarily for alarm clocks and they were considered to have lesser accuracy than the lever escapements that most Oris’ competitors used.
In 1936, Oris was finally able to make its own escapements. Two years earlier, the watchmaker has managed to set up its own dial factory in Biel/Bienne as well. With the two establishments, Oris is known to employ many artisans (both males and females) than most watch manufacturers.
Through its dexterous and dedicated artisans, Oris introduced its first pilots watch with an oversized crown which it even borrows its name, the Big Crown. With the crown, the flying pilots were able to reset the watch aptly with their leathered groves. As a brand that cherishes its heritage, the Big Crown lineup is active even today where it combines its vintage style with the modern versatility. Still upholding their initial field, the encompassed watches come with cockpit aesthetic elegance and functionality, as with the Big Crown Propilot Calibre 114. With reference 01 114 7746 4063-Set 5 22 15FC, for instance, its 40-jewel hand-wound movement has a 10-day power reserve and a second time zone. This ensures every pilot wearing is coupled with exquisite precision at every edge of the globe.
During the Baselworld 2019, the Big Crown lineup was one of the featured collections with a stainless steel Propilot Timer GMT. Readied for take-off, the Reference 01 748 7756 4064-07 8 22 08 has a stainless casing entirely (including steel bracelet) and a self-winding GMT movement.
Although Oris has been able to incorporate automatic movements in its watches extensively, the multimillion brand relied on manually-would ones for almost 5 decades since its introduction. Its first automatic movement debuted in 1952 as caliber 601 which had excellent accuracy and a power reserve indicator. The movement was a great achievement for the band, ideally for the divers’ watches that were reborn 50 years later after their 1960s inspirer.
Literally, the Oris divers watches is one of the most recognized timepieces for the brand, particularly the 1965 model. At the time, the legendary wristwatch was for the underwater exploration predominantly and it had full-packed diving features, including unidirectional rotatable bezel with 60-minute calibration.
After realizing the bold bond its consumers had with the vintage divers’ watch, Oris Company introduced a modern version of the watch at Baselworld 2015. Known as the Divers Sixty-Five, the timepiece was amongst the 10 discussed watches at the Show following its historical design of the original 1965 model.
Generally, Oris watches have been borrowing their makeup from life encounters since their debut in the mid-‘20s. Having released motorsport and football-inspired watch (Oris Players), in 1996 the watchmaker tuned into Jazz during an Oris London Jazz Festival. While celebrating their connection, the Swiss brand introduced its first Jazz wristwatch which honors the renowned British saxophonist- Andy Sheppard. 5 years later, 2001, Oris released another series of the Jazz collection which it named after an influential American jazz trumpeter, Miles Davis.
In the same year the Miles Davis watch hit the marketplace, Oris company also introduced the TT1 series in its collection of high-performance sports watches. Inspired by the world of Formula 1 racing, the automatic watch has a rubber strap that imitates the longitudinal threads of F1 tires.
As Oris Watch Company was preparing for its 100th Anniversary celebration, the watchmaker introduced a timeless classic series of Artelier collection. At the time it was in 2003 and the new timepiece came packed with a high-performing in-house caliber and ultra-luxurious design.
During its 100th Anniversary in 2004, Oris celebrated the moment with a new series on the recently-added Artelier collection. Though a limited edition, the Oris Artelier Worldtimer has a second dial for the second time zone at 3 o’clock of its main dial. The dauphine hands and the dart-shaped indexes have a golden rose gold brilliance. This feature is common in most of the encompassed watches in the lineup today which also feature a gem-set case and excellent complications like a lunar calendar.
Although Oris watches are not known as other brands like Rolex or Patek Philippe, the watchmaker is ranked amongst the 10 best Swiss brands. Historically, the Hölstein-based manufacturer has a very interesting background that even if we wanted to, we can’t compile it all at a go.
Check our blog to learn more of Oris watchmaking journey, including the innovative BC4 Flight Timer which won the Red Dot Award with its extraordinary architecture.